The Best Oil for Oil Pulling to Improve Oral Hygiene

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If you’re anything like me, good oral health is very important to you. Bad breath and cavities, no thank you! That’s why oil pulling is a key part of my oral hygiene routine.

What does oil pulling do? It’s an easy, effective, all-natural oral health remedy that kills harmful bacteria and promotes a healthy smile. Once you work it into your daily routine, it will become second nature to you.

Many people wonder about the best oil for oil pulling. While there are many different kinds of oil you can use for this practice, my personal favorite is coconut oil. It’s super affordable, easy to find, and has a mild flavor compared to other oils.

How to do an oil pull

Oil pulling is an ancient Indian oral health remedy that dates back almost 3,000 years. It is primarily used to kill bad bacteria and promote good oral hygiene. Today, oil pulling is becoming increasingly common. Many people swear by its effectiveness. 

There are hundreds of different types of bacteria in your mouth, some that  are harmful and some that are not. Oil pulling is thought to get rid of the harmful bacteria.

To do an oil pull, simply swish about one tablespoon of oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, just like using mouthwash. As you swish the oil around, the bad bacteria is removed and dissolves into the liquid oil.

Once you’re done, simply spit out the oil into a bag and discard it in the trash. It’s important not to spit coconut oil into the sink because it can cause the drain to clog. Then, follow the oil pull with your regular brushing and flossing routine. 

If 15 to 20 minutes sound intimidating at first, you can always start with 5 minutes and work your way up to the full 20 minutes. You’ll want to make this habit as easy to adopt as possible so you won’t make excuses to avoid it.


The best oil for oil pulling

Technically, you can use pretty much any type of edible oil for oil pulling (don’t use motor oil!) The most popular choices are sesame oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil.

Like I said before, I would recommend using coconut oil, particularly if you’re new to oil pulling. Not only does it taste the best, but research has shown that coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is known for its ability to fight off harmful bacteria and prevent tooth decay.

Keep in mind that coconut oil usually solidifies when the temperature is less than 75℉. To return it to a liquid state suitable for oil pulling, simply put the container in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. However, coconut oil is not the only option. You can also use one of the essential oils for natural cleaning that enhance your mouth’s health and freshness. These essential oils include tea tree oil, peppermint oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and lemon oil, each known for their antibacterial properties.

The benefits of oil pulling

Is oil pulling safe? Though research on oil pulling is limited, studies have demonstrated numerous oral health benefits associated with it. Just make sure you don’t swallow any of the oil as you swish it around because it can contain toxic microorganisms.

1. Kills harmful bacteria in your mouth

There are many harmful types of bacteria that live in your mouth. These can cause tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease, among other dental problems.

Oil pulling can help reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth. This helps to support good oral hygiene and prevents dental issues.

2. Decreases bad breath

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of oral health problems, such as infection, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, and unwanted buildup of bacteria.          

Oil pulling is a simple and effective way to decrease bad breath. One study even demonstrated that oil pulling is just as effective as mouthwash at killing the bacteria that cause bad breath.

3. Prevents cavities

Cavities are the result of tooth decay. Poor oral hygiene, unwanted buildup of bacteria, excess sugar consumption, and plaque buildup can all lead to cavities. 

Streptococcus mutans is one of the main types of bacteria in your mouth that can build up and cause tooth decay. Studies show that oil pulling can reduce the amount of this harmful bacteria in your mouth and prevent cavities.

4. Reduces gingivitis

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It occurs when the immune system attacks unwanted bacteria that live in the plaque on your gums.

Oil pulling has been shown to be effective in reducing gingivitis. In one study, gingivitis decreased in adolescents after oil pulling once a day for 7 days.

 5. Simple and inexpensive

In addition to the numerous health benefits proven by research, oil pulling is simple and inexpensive. Compared to whitestrips and other oral hygiene products, coconut oil is super affordable.

The ingredients in most oils are all-natural, especially compared to the ingredients in mouthwash like ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and methyl salicylate that can be dangerous to your health. Furthermore, oil pulling is simple to do and only requires 15 to 20 minutes out of your day.

Common misconceptions about oil pulling

While there are many benefits associated with oil pulling, a few common misconceptions exist. As great as oil pulling is, it’s important not to overstate its health advantages.

1. Detoxifies the body

Some people believe that oil pulling has detoxifying properties in that it pulls toxins from the body. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this idea.

2. Treats diseases outside of the mouth

Another myth is that oil pulling can treat various diseases throughout the body. So far, research has only demonstrated oral health benefits. There is no reason to use oil pulling to treat other diseases.

3. Whitens your teeth

Many people believe that oil pulling can whiten your teeth. However, research has not confirmed this benefit.

4. Replaces brushing and flossing

Oil pulling does remove harmful bacteria from your mouth, but it is not the same as brushing or flossing your teeth. If you decide to incorporate oil pulling into your oral hygiene routine, make sure you continue to brush and floss just as often as you did before.


Oil pulling is an ancient health remedy that improves oral health. It’s a simple and all-natural way to kill harmful bacteria, decrease bad breath, prevent cavities, and reduce gingivitis. Sound like something you’d like to try? Grab some coconut oil and start swishing for a clean, happy, and healthy smile!

Have you tried oil pulling? Share your experiences in the comments below!

XO – Serena

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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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